Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What ALL Children Deserve

I completely understand the desire to provide the best education possible for children, but charter schools are NOT the solution, particularly if you believe, as I do, that ALL children deserve the best education possible.  Too few people know the damage charter schools are causing to our public school system.   Last night I went to the Highlands Ranch library to view a film titled The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman.  While I've had an opinion about charter schools for quite some time, this movie and discussion that followed inspired me to re-examine my beliefs and the facts about charter schools.  

At first glance, I can somewhat understand the appeal of charter schools for parents.   The idea of a school designed and run by people in their own communities, tailored to meet the specific needs of the kids in their communities may sound appealing, but this is not what charter schools are. What follows are ideas that do not sit well with me as I consider what charter schools are.

Charter schools are corporately funded for-profit schools syphoning money from true public schools.  Charter schools thieve money from schools that provide education for ALL students and use that money to educate only select students -- those who win the charter school lottery, those who do not have any additional needs including learning disabilities and English language learners, and those who willingly conform to whatever corporation has purchased the right to educate that child while they rake in hundreds of thousands of dollar salaries.   How is this PUBLIC education?   Why are our tax dollars going to this select group of kids instead of to ALL kids?  When we stop taking money away from our TRUE public schools, we can start to take steps towards giving all students the best education possible.  

Don't get me wrong, I see many other problems with charter schools than funding.  I have big questions about curriculum, instruction, philosophy, discipline, emphasis on testing (a problem in public schools thanks to politicians as well), and on and on, but the funding being stolen from our neighborhood schools sickens me.

Privatizing education is not how we are going to "fix" our education system.  

The Grassroots Education Movement, the group who produced this movie suggests the following ten ideas for real reform, all of which cannot be accomplished by the charter school movement.   For more information about these ideas and to view the movie check out their website:  http://www.waitingforsupermantruth.org/.

The best education possible is what all children deserve.

Real Reform #1:  Smaller Class Sizes
Real Reform #2:  Excellent Community Public Schools for ALL Children
Real Reform #3:  More Teaching – Less Testing
Real Reform #4:  Parent and Teacher Empowerment and Leadership
Real Reform #5:  Equitable Funding for ALL Schools
Real Reform #6:  Anti-Racist Education Policies
Real Reform #7:  Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Real Reform #8:  Expand Pre Kindergarten and Early Intervention Programs
Real Reform #9:  Qualified and Experienced Educators and Educational Leaders
Real Reform #10:  Democratic and Social Justice Unionism